Seabourn Odyssey on a previous Caribbean cruise (Seabourn)
Published Apr 21, 2021 7:48 PM by The Maritime Executive
Cruise lines marketing to American passengers continue to announce plans to resume programs outside U.S. ports to avoid the current regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that have been blocking the resumption of service from American ports. Cruise ships from brands owned by Carnival Corporation and Genting Hong Kong will resume service in the Caribbean this summer joining previously announced programs aboard ship from the Royal Caribbean Group, Viking, and another Genting ship.
The cruise lines are reporting that they are having constructive discussions with the CDC, and both the director of the CDC and Transport Secretary Buttigieg have said they believe cruises could restart this summer from the U.S. Cruise lines, however, in the meantime are taking advantage of the CDC’s announcements that it would be reducing the restrictions on international travel, permitting Americans to travel to the Caribbean and only requiring COVID-19 testing on their return.
Carnival Corporation’s luxury Seabourn brand announced that with the Government of Barbados it is developing plans to restart cruises on a second one of the line’s cruise ships. The Seabourn Odyssey will begin sailing from Barbados on July 18 with two weekly itineraries, including planned stops at Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, and St. Kitts. The Caribbean trips are in addition to the Seabourn Ovation which is scheduled to resume sailing on July 3 offering cruises around the Greek Islands.
“We are grateful to be working in concert with the Government of Barbados to restart tourism in Barbados and the Caribbean Sea,” said Josh Leibowitz, president of Seabourn. “The entire Seabourn family is energized to provide our award-winning service, dining, and entertainment on board Seabourn Odyssey starting again this July.”
The Seabourn cruise programs marks the second time Barbados has worked with a cruise line to resume operations. In November 2020, Sea Dream Yacht Club began the first Caribbean cruises from Barbados. That program, however, was canceled days later when one of the passengers on the first cruise was reported to have COVID-19.
“We look forward to welcoming Seabourn back to our shores and are pleased with the outlook for the restart of the cruise industry,” said Sen. the Hon. Lisa Cummins, Minister of Tourism and International Transport for Barbados. “Safe travel is our priority, and placing vaccinations and other key public health travel protocols at the core of our cruise industry restart will not only restore traveler confidence, but also offer comfort to visitors and Barbadians alike.”
Similar to nearly all the cruises that have announced plans to resume service this summer, Seabourn said that all passengers will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Seabourn guests will also be required to comply with all health protocols that are in place at the time of their departure and the cruise line plans to conduct health screening questionnaires while requiring face masks, physical distancing, and capacity controls for indoor venues. They reported that there will be enhanced environmental sanitation and upgraded high-efficiency air filtration in the heating & cooling system.
Genting’s Crystal Cruises also announced that its second cruise ship, the Crystal Symphony, will sail a series of 15 10-night Caribbean cruises round-trip from Antigua. Beginning August 5 through December, the company plans to visit Barbados, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago (pending approval), St. Maarten, and the British Virgin Islands. Previously, Crystal announced plans to restart cruising on July 3 sailing in the Bahamas aboard its ship the Crystal Serenity.
Among the other summer programs, Viking will be offering cruises around Bermuda, while Royal Caribbean International will be sailing cruises from Bermuda to the Bahamas. A second Royal Caribbean ship will be sailing from the Bahamas to Mexico, while Celebrity Cruises will be sailing from St. Maarten. These cruise programs are in addition to the plans for sailings in the Mediterranean and from the U.K. and in Asia.